August 06, 2012
BIM, the Cloud and Mobility are Primary Topics for Trimble/Meridian
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor


by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Industry News

BIM, the Cloud and Mobility are Primary Topics for Trimble/Meridian

By Susan Smith

Jon Fingland, AEC business unit director, described the Meridian Prolog 9.5 release for construction project management and the WinEst proposed acquisition by parent company Trimble.

Trimble is a $1.6 billion company with the goal of  making organizations more productive through office and field, and tools and equipment. Meridian was acquired in 2006.  The company includes Tekla, Sketchup and now WinEst, with this latest proposed acquisition and RFID asset tracking solutions.

From the Meridian perspective, Fingland said they look at two distinct markets  - people who own maintain and manage assets and then organizations that are focused around building the assets and providing a service, specifically general contractors and construction managers.

“We do purpose built solutions, we do meetings with customers and we talk about industry topics like BIM, how is it impacting the organization,” noted Fingland. “The topics talked about most in these discussions are cloud, BIM and mobility. We’ve had an online offering the SaaS model for years, the Prolog Sky offering at the end of last year. We didn’t think big organizations would be a target for the cloud, but there’s a couple of things they want.  They need to have this capability in house and to be able to integrate with it. We can host their solutions for them and still integrate with other systems like accounting in another geographic location.

“The second component is in a company has 1,000 users internally that use our solution and they have 40,000 people that they have to deal with that they have to provide directory logins and security for because those are all the people they need to collaborate with – architects, consultants, engineers, etc. The hosting has grown to be more and more users, and you have to deal with the daily burden of having to manage more and more users because the permits are getting more collaborative with the IPD processes being adopted.  That’s why the cloud has become very relevant to our customers and specifically the segment that we’re providing the solution for. And contractors want to
know how they can get value from BIM? Use cases have been more around clash and business development and BIM has a view that it comes from the design aspect. That’s why the cloud has become more important to our customer and particularly the construction segment.”

When you look at BIM as building information management instead of building information modeling, you will find you can use that information to collaborate and communicate more which means getting more and more value of it.

Mobility has become huge for people in the AEC industry. One large corporation said they would never adopt the iPad because it is a consumer product and now they use it for everything, all their employees have one.

What has happened is that customers are trying to get rid of the number of silos they have, and every project has five or six file repositories now because people sign up for the pay as you go options. They have different mobile devices that they can only get certain apps on those devices, so multiple jobs now have multiple ftp sites, multiple mobility solutions. These are creating more silos which is more counterproductive to what they are trying to achieve. Prolog has created seamless data and process flow to capitalize on collaboration.

The challenge now is to support more platforms than ever before because of the pace and environment of technology. Meridian has to support the desktop, web, mobility, online/offline work to really maximize potential and value. “We provide a solution that supports all those platforms, but is working at one process and one set of data,” said Fingland.

New Prolog 9.5 Features
  • Cash Flow Forecasting – Ensure cash is available over the course of a project’s implementation.
  • Workflow – Streamline document routing and project approval processes by using new Workflow functionality.  There is now a visual component to workflow.
  • Web-based Mail Merge – Automatically create letters, contracts and other project documents using Word templates directly from within Prolog.
  • BIM Collaboration Format (BCF) Viewer – Store, view and collaborate on BCF files from directly within Prolog, for better collaboration with other project stakeholders. This is achieved from working with Tekla and Open BIM Concepts.
  • Purchasing – Assemble bid packages, select prequalified bidders and send bid packages via email.
  • Project Email Capture – Attach critical project data from emails directly into Prolog.
  • Project File Capture – Store a multitude of project-related documents as part of Prolog.

  • In January Meridian acquired Dimension 5 for mobility and those solutions have been integrated with Meridian for a number of years. Now it is seamless and part of the core Prolog platform, available for both iPad and Windows.

    The cash flow forecasting ties in with WinEst giving project managers more ability to manage business units, empowering them to manage that from the conception of the cost and the building of the cost plan through managing it all the way to the completion. With WinEst, Trimble announced the acquisition and signed a definitive agreement, planning to close in Q3. WinEst comes with a team of estimating professionals, well versed in cost planning and cost modeling. WinEst will be integrated into the Meridian product line. 

    The two components of WinEst are the core estimating application that is the vendor flagship product, and Modelogix for developing accurate conceptual cost models based on cost history data from multiple sources.



    Top News of the Week

     GRAPHISOFT announced its latest innovation specifically targeted toward Android device users.  GRAPHISOFT BIMx, the ultimate communication and presentation tool for BIM projects, is now available as a 3D viewer app for a range of Android devices, in addition to the iPad/iPhone. The Facebook-integrated BIMx community and the new Model Transfer site help spread this innovative technology among architects, clients and all other stakeholders.

    Helping to further optimize the Java development experience,
    Oracle announced NetBeans Integrated Development Environment (IDE) 7.2.

    NetBeans IDE is a free, open source IDE available for Windows, Mac, Oracle Solaris, Oracle Linux, and other Linux distributions, that enables developers to rapidly create web, enterprise, desktop and mobile applications for the Java platform, PHP and C/C++.

    Deltek, Inc. announced the release of Deltek Capture Analytics. The new solution gives executives and business development professionals that use Deltek’s CRM and Capture Management system access to critical information to track and analyze current and historical pipeline, win and bid rates and the resulting revenue forecasts. This unprecedented level of visibility into the entire capture management process empowers companies to win more contracts.

    Agreements/Acquisitions



    A powerful new partnership between
    Intergraph Government Solutions and
    Alvarez and Associates emerged within the federal geospatial landscape today.

    Alvarez and Associates, a Washington, D.C.-based Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVO/SB) information technology company and Intergraph Government Solutions, the leading provider of engineering and geospatial software, announced a partnership to provide products and services under the NASA SEWP IV contract.

    Newforma, a project information management software company, and
    M-SIX , developer of a platform enabling 3D building model collaboration in the cloud, announced that Newforma has licensed the M-SIX VEO platform to integrate PIM with BIM. The integration will enable AEC firms and owners to manage the project information and work processes associated with building models.

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